Are you looking to hunt North American Big Game and don’t know what rifle to choose? Finding the perfect hunting rifle for any outdoorsman involves fulfilling three essential criteria.
It should suit the task well, align with your preferences, and fall within your budget. While all three aspects are essential, the financial aspect can sometimes be addressed without the use of a payday loan.
The following rifles will help you harvest your next North American Big Game animal regardless of whether it is a moose in Montana, Elk in Arizona, or White Tail in Texas.
Gray’s Pick for Best Hunting Rifles for Big Game Hunting
Weatherby Mark V
This is a versatile rifle. It’s lightweight, accurate, and powerful. It is available in a wide range of calibers. It has one of the strongest actions on the market. They are consistent in accuracy. It’s a shorter bolt-throw. This means there is less movement to open the bolt. They are exceptionally made rifles.
Browning X Bolt
This rifle comes in any standard caliber that you could imagine. Additional safety features: you can unload the gun without putting it on fire. They are lightweight rifles. You can find them at most big box-hunting stores.
Bergara B 14
It has a smooth action and excellently made barrels. Base models come under $1000 new or $600 used. This is the best option for those who want a traditional big game hunting rifle without breaking the bank.
SigSauer Cross Rifle
This is an ultra-lightweight rifle. It has an AR-style firing system. This rifle comes with a foldable and adjustable stock. It comes standard with a mlock rail for mounting and a threaded barrel.
This bold action rifle has recoil reduction built into the stock. It has a smooth bold and shoots exceptionally well.
Winchester Model 70
The Winchester Model 70 has a proven record lasting through the decades. The rifle has been around since the mid-1930s. It is known as America’s Rifle. It comes with a Mauser-style action. The rifle is fairly lightweight. It is a very reliable rifle and a reliable firing system.
This rifle comes with a crisp trigger and a light and even break. Most models are economically priced. It is a solid rifle for not a whole lot of money.
TikkaT3x has the smoothest action on the market. It is one of the lightest rifles that is under $1000. It is available everywhere.
It is a higher-end, accurate hunting rifle under $1000. It has a strong action and is incredibly accurate.
Another rifle comes standard with a threaded barrel and partial Picatinny rail system. This rifle comes with a crisp trigger pull.
The best beginner hunting rifle. This is a very accurate rifle under $700—a handy rifle for new hunters.
What is North American big game.
When selecting the finest rifles for hunting large game, it is crucial to establish what qualifies as “large game”. The terms “large” and “best” are subjective.
In North America, most state divisions of wildlife resources or hunting regulations classify any game animal larger than a coyote as a large game.
Hence, these organizations include white-tailed deer weighing 90 pounds, pronghorn antelope weighing 100 pounds, and any game animal surpassing these sizes in the Large Game category.
However, antelope, white-tailed deer with adult male weights typically under for these hunters and shooters, Large Game, refers to elk, caribou, moose, brown bear, and bison.
But beyond practical considerations, the choice of your rifle reflects your identity as a hunter. Whether it’s a reliable budget companion always at your side, a timeless lever action, or an exquisite long-range powerhouse, it plays a defining role. We have carefully tested and handpicked the finest hunting rifles available to simplify your decision-making process.
Determine The Best Big Game Hunting Rifles for You
Some of the best hunting rifles for big game hunting rifles are the tried and true models. Older calibers such as 30-06, the Winchester 300 magnum, and the Weatherby Mark V have existed for decades.
These are tried and true rifles but may put a crunch on your budget. You get what you are paid for for big game hunting rifles. Expect to pay at least $1000 for a decent rifle.
You’ll need a heavier caliber for larger animals like moose and elk, like a .30-06 or .300 Win Mag. You can use a lighter caliber hunting rifle like a .243 or .308 for smaller game like antelope and deer. Determine the size and type of animal you’ll be pursuing before purchasing.
Big Game Hunting Rifle Calibers
30-06 is a great all-round caliber for anything in North America. With its flat shooting trajectory and good knock-down power, the 30-06 is a great choice for hunting deer, elk, moose, bear, and other big game. It’s considered one of the most popular hunting calibers due to its versatility.
300 Winchester Magnum
300 Winchester Magnum is for those who want more knockdown power than the 30-06. This is great for larger, more dangerous game animals such as elk and moose. It has a flatter trajectory than the 30-06, making it an excellent long-range cartridge.
Creedmoor 6.5 prc
6.5 Creedmoor is the perfect caliber for someone new to hunting or sensitive to recoil. If you are looking for a flat shooting rifle, the 6.5 Creedmoor is for you.
6.5 Prc is a great option for someone who wants a lighter recoiling caliber but wants more energy than the 6.5 Creedmoor.
270 Winchester is for someone who’s a lighter recoiling and flatter shooting caliber than the 30-06
7mm Remington Magum
7mm Remington Magnum is a great caliber for shooting long distances, while still having boat loads of energy.
308 Winchester is a popular caliber that is found in both bolt action rifles and semi autos.
300 Weatherby magnum
300 Weatherby Magnum is a great choice if you want extra speed and range than the 300 Winchester Magunm.
280 Ackley improved
280 Ackley Improved has a lighter recoil than the 7mm Remington Magnum but more energy on target than the 7 mm-08 Remington.
7mm-08 Remington is great between the 308 Winchester and the 6.5 Creedmoor, perfect for mid to long-range shots. It offers excellent accuracy and power while still having a manageable recoil.
7mm Prc uses modern bullet design to make a flatter shooting and hard-hitting cartridge with the same recoil as the 7mm Remington magnum. It is a great choice for long-range shooting with similar performance to the 7mm Remington Magnum.
One of the best rifle calibers
In my opinion is the 300 Weatherby magnum. It is a powerful caliber with tremendous energy and knock-down power, perfect for taking down big game animals like elk or moose.
The 300 Weatherby magnum has been used successfully for many years by hunters across the globe, proving its effectiveness in taking down large game animals humanely and quickly. It is also one of the most popular rifle caliber options.
Barrel Length Options
18 – 26 inches. The 300 Weatherby magnum is most effective with a longer barrel length, allowing the bullet to reach peak velocity and higher downrange energy. Longer barrels are also beneficial for accuracy and bullet drop at extended ranges.
Shorter barrel guns are handy in situations where there is lot of heavy brush. Low-hanging barrels.
The 300 Weatherby magnum can be an invaluable tool for hunters looking to take down big game animals at extended ranges.
Practice, Practice, Practice
No matter how good your rifle is, it won’t do you any good if you’re not a good shot. Before you head out on your hunting trip, spend time at the range practicing your aim and getting to know your rifle.
You can familiarize yourself with all the features and quirks of your specific rifle so you can accurately and confidently take down the game in the field.
You want to hit what you are aiming at. It will be hard to hunt without some rifle scope. Ensure you get a good-quality rifle scope specifically designed for long-distance shooting.
Please review the environment where you will be hunting and choose an optic suitable for that terrain.
You will need a way to carry the gun. A sling is essential to keep your rifle handy. It also helps you keep the gun steady while you are in pursuit of your game.
For stability while hunting or shooting sticks for accuracy. Bipods are a great way to make sure your shot is on target.
Gun Cleaning Kit
Because a clean gun is an accurate gun. Could you make sure you have a gun cleaning kit? It should include all the necessary tools and supplies to keep your gun running smoothly.
To reduce recoil and noise signature.
Reduce recoil but are incredibly loud.
Reduce the sound and recoil, but are very expensive. It can take a year to go through the legal paperwork.
When it comes to finding the best big game rifle, it’s all about determining your needs, considering your environment, and investing in a high-quality, reliable rifle.
By researching and practicing your skills at the range, you can be confident in taking on any game out in the field.
Always prioritize safety and ethical hunting practices, and have fun on your next hunting adventure!
Are you new to hunting and don’t know where to start? I would like to help you with my 20 years of hunting experience to help you pick the best rifle and caliber options for a successful big game hunt.